Another login… yes seriously I now have well over 200 different logins for sites, for companies, for whatever…
It is hip to be connected and hip to give your customers that feeling of being appreciated by giving them a personalized and password protected 24/7 connection to your company. No need anymore to send letters, lets just get ourselves a portal and have our users look up their own information there, they will love it! and why we’re at it: why not add a form for users to submit their own tickets. Heck we can even eliminate that expensive helpdesk that way!
Yes, you get it, I am getting fed up by that whole ‘(exceptional) web experience’ thing. Okay, in a lot of situations having the options to get information directly and without having to call or wait for office hours is good but… I think we’re going overboard.
Yesterday I received a letter in which I was told in jubilant terms that a company pension fund I was attached to with a previous employer now has it’s own customer portal and that instead of sending me my yearly statement I would now be able to log in to a ‘highly personalized and interactive portal’ and get all the information I need myself. This pension fund has been dormant for years as I’m not employed with that employer anymore. There is no money going in and there won’t be any money going out for the next 28 years either so the only communication I have with them is one measly yearly statement telling me what the interest and costs were on the pension for that year. That is all I need (for my tax return) and that is all I get. I have no other interests and no use for anything else. Still I get yet another login and password and another URL to remember which of course is not a direct link from their site but something like www.myExcellentPension.com because well, we have nothing better to do than to search for these things. Worst of all though. I don’t get my yearly statements in the post anymore.
I get it, this saves companies money and time and there are certainly situations where I see the added benefit of having a portal but I want to have a choice. I want to have an option to say: “Sorry, I don’t want your portal. Please just send me my yearly statement” but this seems impossible or only possible if I pay extra. Now I was under the impression that I was already paying you to do your job, why would I need to pay extra?!? It’s not as if the costs I pay for the services are in any way going down by adding a customer portal?!?
And yes, before you ask, I’m savvy enough to have a password manager tool to manage all the different passwords, logins, URLS, safe codes and keynumbers I have. And yes, I use key generated different passwords for each site. But I also see the people around me, that often don’t have the same level of understanding of the risks and that are struggling to keep track of it all. Some write it all down in a little booklet, others use an excel sheet to list all their logins and yet others simply use the same simple password for every site they log into…. sigh
This can’t go on like this. There needs to be some form of unification as this is getting out of hand.
Note: It’s funny. I actually wrote this blog two years ago but never posted it for some reason. Reading it back though made me realize it’s still accurate. Since then the amount of passwords has only grown although some initiatives have been taken to limit it as well. Here in The Netherlands we have DigiD a central government driven identity management system that provides a single multi-factor login to all government institutions and which is now also used to login to certain other non-government platforms (mostly insurance company platforms). But even with that I still feel that I as a consumer should have an option to selectively opt-out of having to have accounts on every companies site I ever did business with and that is still not an option!